Amid the natural beauty of Cartagena’s Caribbean coast there exists an alarming level of wealth disparity in Colombia’s most notable tourist destination – with large percent of the population living in poverty.
Despite the city’s thriving hospitality and tourism industry, the local residents are unable to tap into this growing industry because they lack the necessary skills needed to apply for these employment opportunities. Therefore, most are forced to live a subsistent life as an entrepreneur, farmer, or fishermen and struggle to secure a stable income because of unstable market conditions and lack of education – most survive on less than $1 a day.
The city’s hospitality industry is growing at an impressive rate and having reliable and skilled staff is a critical requirement for the success of this industry.
The Acceso Centro de Formación para el Trabajo (Acceso Training Center Enterprise) was created to support a range of employability programs, including hospitality, aimed at improving the livelihoods for thousands of disadvantaged youth in Cartagena, Colombia. We prepare and place marginalized youth in quality hospitality jobs by providing them with the specific competencies and skills sets in housekeeping and hotel guest services, and as kitchen aids, baristas, food and beverages patrons, administrative and accounting assistants.
The Training Center’s programs address the critical labor needs of the growing hospitality industry and have been custom tailored to the specific requirements of the industry. We’ve engaged with local hotels, academic institutions, and government organizations to develop highly relevant training content and methodologies. These partnerships have been tremendously valuable, as they perform periodic reviews and provide updates to our curricula, assess our strategy, provide hands-on training opportunities and internships, and support our job placement efforts. Armed with this very helpful information, our team can quickly respond to changes in the hospitality industry by adjusting the variety of training provided, fine-tune the numbers and qualifications of students enrolled, and update the content of course curricula.
The value gained from collaboration has motivated industry leaders to hire and retain our graduates, as well as become long-term partners and friends.
With the co-investment by Fondo Acceso SAS, Fundación Carlos Slim, Gestión y Desarrollo del Talento del Caribe, and Gente Estrategica, we will train up to 20,000 youth over the next ten years initially in hospitality jobs and expanding into other local growing sectors such as ports and logistics. These youth will be placed into more sustainable and quality jobs, significantly improve their annual incomes, and quality of life, whilst empowering them to succeed with dignity.